BUCCANEERS made a winning start to their Bank of Ireland Connacht Junior Cup campaign with a 31-14 victory over Monivea at the Castle Grounds. But Buccs had to work to the very end to kill off the east Galway side’s challenge with two late tries embellishing the Pirates endeavours.

Harry Hughes opened the scoring for the Athlonians when he and Ross Murphy-Sweeney combined in a great break through the middle for a try. Darren Browne notched the second, intercepting off a home lineout while possibly a shade offside. Buccs third try was scored by Jensen Nagle following a fine move with Gerard Fallon that cut through the opposition centre.

Monivea kept in the contest with a brace of tries and Buccs had to make some positional changes to seal the deal. Man of the match Luke Balsiger grabbed their fourth touchdown and Eanna McDonnell scored out wide with Buccs fifth try of a competitive encounter.
Fallon, both at scrumhalf and then flyhalf, and Nagle were pick of the backs while Sean Flynn put in a serious shift in the forwards exchanges in this refixed tie.

MONIVEA:- R.O’Connor; K.Maher, J.Coen, E.Maher, D.O’Reilly; R.McKeogh, D.Collins; G.Fitzmaurice, K.Devaney, T.Murray; D.Burns, E.Murray; R.Hickey, S.McDonnell and F.Killarney. Replacements:- R.Coughlan, D.Costello, A.Ford, K.Connell, D.Gilhooley and E.Hogan.

BUCCANEERS:- J.Nagle; H.Hughes, H.Balsiger, R.Murphy-Sweeney, C.Rooney-Digan; J.Why, G.Fallon; N.Guliashvili, C.Morrissey (captain), S.Flynn; L.Doyle, C.O’Grady; C.Brill, D.Browne and L.Balsiger. Replacments:- C.Daly, A.M.Abono, R.Keighery-Farley, M.Lyons, E.Friel, R.Teape and E.McDonnell.

Referee:- M.Fitzgerald (Connacht).